On the proper method to stop negging so much

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UlyssesInvictus
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On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:14 pm

Negs are bad. We already know that. However, after recognizing long ago that proper buzzing discipline was my biggest problem, I still haven't managed to curb my plethora of negging. Thankfully, it's been slightly masked by still getting a lot of questions right, but the problem bit me in the butt this past weekend at VCU Spring, where I can identify multiple games where we lost directly due to the abundance of negs (and ending up with 33 negs over 9 games...). To further add to the troubles, the problem is starting to spread slightly among my teammates, at least going by G/N.

So: how to stop negging? What I'm looking for is some method of team practice in which I, and the rest of the team, develop the mentality to neg less, but I'm also fine with any personal strategies/disciplines that help cut down on negs. Whatever works.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:19 pm

What kind of negs do you make? Do you buzz on the first thing that triggers something in your memory, and then say something wrong / blank? Or do you somehow get an inkling of what the answer could be, wait a line and hear nothing that conflicts with the answer in your head, and then neg? Or is it not any of those, and for you to elaborate upon?
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:31 pm

Oh yeah, should have elaborated on the types of negs--

Well, to put it sadly, it's most of what you just described. Basically I have a low threshold for when I buzz, so I end up buzzing on reflex when I shouldn't have--convincing myself I know the answer when I don't actually--going for that fraud when I really shouldn't have--and really just so on. I see that naming these specific behaviors should put me on the path to individually fixing each one, but it hasn't actually.

What I mean by a method then, is something similar to what Daniel Hothem came up for Jonathan Lead-in Hammer back in the 2011 HSNCT. Daniel basically told Jonathan to put a hand out everytime he heard a clue he wanted to buzz on, and then buzz the next time. It worked (and if it does for anyone else reading this, thank Daniel). I'm hesitant, however, to try this, due to the fact that in my opinion I will lose way too many buzzer races. So: any other similar methods people use, physically or mentally?
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by vinteuil » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:35 pm

UlyssesInvictus wrote:going for that fraud
If you have to fraud it, you often don't know enough to know if you could be wrong.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:44 pm

Raynor, what exactly do you mean by "buzz the next time" ?
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Kouign Amann » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:50 pm

UlyssesInvictus wrote:Well, to put it sadly, it's most of what you just described. Basically I have a low threshold for when I buzz, so I end up buzzing on reflex when I shouldn't have--convincing myself I know the answer when I don't actually--going for that fraud when I really shouldn't have--and really just so on. I see that naming these specific behaviors should put me on the path to individually fixing each one, but it hasn't actually.
I think these are fairly common things that affect good high school generalists in their categories of non-specialization. You know a bunch of clues that can produce a bunch of points, but you don't have a great idea of how everything fits together, so you do a lot of reflex buzzing and word association. I used to be a fairly prolific word associator in high school and still am on low-level questions. One thing helps, at least in my experience, is playing a lot more hard questions than you currently do. Whatever you play in practice, take some time to play a few levels higher than that for a while. That could mean playing more Fall, more NSC, more Regionals, or whatever's right for you and your team, instead of just high school packets. You'll hear a lot of the same words, but they'll be in new and different contexts. You won't be able to buzz as usual; you'll have to actually listen and learn. High-level stuff forces you to unlearn what you thought were ironclad, binary associations. More often than in high school, you'll actually have to know what you're doing before buzzing on a given word. High-level questions force you to play more "honestly" and can help break some of the bad habits high school generalists always develop.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Mewto55555 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:17 pm

Get an inner voice, or maybe a teammate to ask you "Why the hell are you buzzing there? DID YOU KNOW THAT CLUE OR ARE YOU GUESSING?" always.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:47 am

I have tried to limit negs at times in my career (the highlight being an ACF Fall where I finished with a 42/0 statline over 9 rounds) but I've generally found that a few bad negs are offset by the necessary aggression to get tossups earlier. In general, the more you learn and the more quizbowl experience you accrue, the less neg-prone you are. If your development trends in the opposite direction, it is likely a mental issue instead of a serious flaw in your game.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:37 am

So I've watched you play, and basically it looks like you try to be as aggressive against teams that have no business beating you as you are against a team you are going to have to push yourself to the limit in order to beat. I can see how keeping yourself on your toes for that is good, but you may want to consider just dialing it back against teams that cannot beat you if you don't neg yourself to death, but are capable of capitalizing on large amounts of negs to potentially beat you.

Of course, you could always take your game to the other extreme and play like me and lose all the time by not ever taking any chances when you buzz in.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:03 pm

One thing that definitely helped me in this respect was writing down the prompt as the question is being read. If the phrase "this author" appears right off the bat, write down "author," or whatever. Then I have my mind fixed on what the question is actually looking for, so when I hear a clue that sounds vaguely familiar, I don't just buzz unless I know which author to associate the clue with. The downside is that I, at least, can only keep track of so many things during a match, so I don't write down answer lines and hence my tournament notes are essentially useless post-hoc.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Fond du lac operon » Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:13 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:One thing that definitely helped me in this respect was writing down the prompt as the question is being read. If the phrase "this author" appears right off the bat, write down "author," or whatever. Then I have my mind fixed on what the question is actually looking for, so when I hear a clue that sounds vaguely familiar, I don't just buzz unless I know which author to associate the clue with. The downside is that I, at least, can only keep track of so many things during a match, so I don't write down answer lines and hence my tournament notes are essentially useless post-hoc.
Everyone should do this. (Well, okay, not if it cramps your style, obviously, but otherwise). I do this all the time, and the one time this year I neglected to write down a pronoun I jumped on a clue about something replicating and reflex-buzzed with "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius." It was not a literature tossup. Don't be like me (or the guy who answered a tossup on Ted Mosby with HIMYM, or whatever).

Oh, and beyond funny stories about terrible buzzes I've made, it like helps you focus on the questions and stuff, which is useful if you, like me, have focus problems sometimes during long tournaments.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:39 pm

It sounds stupid, but something I tried with one or two players that had this problem was setting a goal for negs for the tournament, such as keeping the number below 15 for the day for the top player on the team or 10 for somebody else. Rather than getting upset after each neg, you can assess things after a few matches and figure out whether you are playing appropriately.

It's also helpful if you have a teammate willing to give you feedback. Some negs are not really mistakes--sometimes it's good to make aggressive buzzes, and some aggressive buzzes are going to be negs.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:50 pm

What apparently doesn't work:

At the 2006 CBI tournament at Northwestern, Bruce tried to motivate a neg-prone teammate (not me) by putting a small pile of change in front of him and adding to it every time he didn't neg and removing change when he did. He also had him sign a napkin saying he would not neg. Of course he negged the first question after signing the napkin (which I still have buried with all the other artifacts and orientation material of that tournament). Bruce's exasperated looks led me to believe that he could have been a great college basketball coach just by his facial expressions; he would just have a problem motivating players.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Guile Island » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:22 am

I feel like I've gained a pretty bad reputation as someone who racks up a lot of unnecessary negs, so my only advice is to not let previous negs affect your play too much. I've lost a fair few games where I became too shy on the buzzer after racking up a few early negs. That said, it's obviously really important to write stuff down that you're negging, so hopefully you can look up what possibly caused you to make that neg and not do it again. Another tip I have is to remember what difficulty set you're playing: I got burned pretty badly last year for playing HSNCT in the same manner that I played an easier set. Harder questions, for me at least, require a much more conservative playstyle while facing the average team. Of course, if you're facing one of the best teams in the country you might want to be a bit more aggressive.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by JordanKuhn » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:09 pm

As the player with the most negs on my team consistently, I also struggle with this! I remember HSNCT last year, Dylan (we had Matt Moschella), and I remember you getting really upset after a few negs in our match and that throwing your team off for the rest of the game. The number one thing about negging is not to let it get to your head; if you start getting frustrated and upset it only goes two ways, one of which is not answering anything and the other of which is negging even more. I'm guilty of both of these, at least in practice.
As far as helpful tips to stop negging, I really don't know what to advise; I neg less when I consciously force myself to not buzz in until I know the answer for sure, though the obvious downside to this is losing buzzer races and stuff. Learning more is also a double-edged sword, as having a faint sense of word association regarding a certain subject is often dangerous at higher levels of play. Luckily however (enter long debate about the merits/downsides of the system), high school quizbowl is a little easier to study due to the word association that can usually be made without a problem.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by vinteuil » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:45 pm

JordanKuhn wrote: Learning more[=]having a faint sense of word association regarding a certain subject.
This will certainly cause you to neg more.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much

Post by Southern Double-collared Sunbirb » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:55 am

As everyone reasonable has said on this thread, the proper response to negging is retaining composure. What often happens to me is that I get really nervous in close matches, leading to my concentration being off, leading to bad negs, leading to meltdown (maybe limited, maybe total), more negs, and so on so forth until the game is finished with a really bad performance. What helps is my teammates calling me out when I start to get into that vicious cycle, which quickly reminds me to snap out of it. usually. In more extreme cases, timeouts may be required. (they exist, and our coach is great at using them.) While quizbowl may be a game of knowledge, it's also a game of mental preparation and composure.
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